Essayist, philosopher, and also poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston ~ above May 25, 1803. Son and grandson of good news divines, Emerson to visit Harvard College and also Harvard divinity School, start the Unitarian to adjust in 1829.

There is a time in every man’s education and learning when he come at the conviction that envy is ignorance; the imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, because that worse, together his portion;…The strength which resides in the is brand-new in nature, and also none yet he knows what that is which he can do, no one does he know until he has tried.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance.” In EssaysExternal, first Series. Boston: James Munroe & Company, 1841. P. 38

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Ralph Waldo Emerson… c1884. Prints & Photographs Division

A popular, if unconventional preacher, young Emerson’s sermons consists of an individual reflections ~ above spirituality and also virtue. That avoided expounding doctrine or engaging in scriptural exegesis. Increasingly dissatisfied with classic protestant theology, Emerson resigned native the to adjust in 1832. Through the finish of the decade, however, he was the top exponent that transcendentalism, a philosophy that maintains the universality that creation, upholds the intrinsic goodness of man, and grounds fact in an individual insight.

From the 1830s on, Emerson and a group of like-minded thinkers including Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, and also Elizabeth Palmer Peabody were based in Concord, Massachusetts. The transcendentalist ar at Concord not only shared radical spiritual views, yet also embraced forward-looking social reforms including abolition, temperance, and woman suffrage.

Emerson lived in his family members home, The Old Manse, because that one year, whereby he completed his manifesto, Nature (1836)External, and composed the poem “Concord Hymn” (1837) which commemorates the Revolutionary War battle with the phrase, “And fired the shooting heard round the world.” (Nathaniel Hawthorne and also his wife later on rented the Old Manse.) A prolific writer and thinker, Emerson’s collected essays earned worldwide acclaim, and, because that decades, he stayed a renowned lecturer.

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The Old Manse, Concord. C1900. Detroit posting Company. Prints & Photographs Division

By the time of his fatality in 1882, the eighty-year-old radical was heralded together the “Sage of Concord.”

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Home the Emerson, Concord, Mass. Cosmos images Co., N.Y., 1905. Prints & Photographs Division

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Search this particular day in background for features on the reformers, philosophers, writers, and also artists who created Emerson’s circle:Read a letter from Emerson to Walt Whitman praising Whitman’s poetry. This famous Emerson letter is available in manuscript layout in the Walt Whitman files in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection. A printed copy the the letter can be found in the cutting board Biggs Harned repertoire of Walt Whitman Papers. Search both of this collections on Emerson for drafts of essays and also articles composed by Whitman about Emerson.Emerson to be a renowned lecturer and also writer. Search historic newspapers through Chronicling America to find reviews and notices about his books and also speaking engagements.View the woman Suffrage collections:

Legendary jazz insanity dancer bill “Bojangles” Robinson was born top top May 25, 1878, in Richmond, Virginia. His offered name to be Luther, however he despised it and also appropriated the of his younger brother, William. An particularly performer and also synthesizer that the insanity tradition, Robinson is additionally credited v one major innovation in this American arts form: transforming its level footwork into dancing increase on the toes, which provided tap “a hitherto-unknown lightness and also presence.”1 many steps Robinson perfected through his trademark clarity, precision, and also elegance, including the famous “stair dance,” remain component of the tap repertoire today.

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Portrait of invoice Robinson. Carl valve Vechten, photographer, Jan. 25, 1933. Van Vechten Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Orphaned in early childhood and unwanted by his grandmother, a survivor that slavery and a strict Baptist that forbade dancing, Robinson nevertheless started dancing and singing as a young boy for nickels and also dimes top top Richmond street-corners. He ran away to Washington, D.C., and spent part years to dance in bsci-ch.orgal beer-gardens and surviving on weird jobs prior to breaking into the relatively brand-new theatrical genre called “vaudeville,” i beg your pardon showcased dancers, singers, comedians, and also actors in a series of brief performances. By the early years of the twentieth century, Robinson to be earning optimal dollar top top the vaudeville circuit and in nightclubs as one of the very few black dancers who was permitted to do as a soloist. In 1928 that burst top top Broadway v sensational success in the all-black revue Blackbirds that 1928. Various other Broadway triumphs followed.

By the 1930s, motion pictures and radio had usurped vaudeville’s popularity and Robinson relocated with the times. He saw Hollywood in 1932 and also appeared in part sixteen films, many famously the opposite Shirley Temple. Stormy Weather (1943), v Lena Horne, detailed him a rare chance to appear in an African-American production. Although his movie career carried him even greater prominence during this period, Robinson additionally continued to work-related in the theater. He to be featured in the extremely acclaimed Hot Mikado, staged in ~ the 1939 World’s Fair, in i m sorry a movie critic for Theatre arts described his dancing:

He does no sing, or even swing, through his voice but with his feet. Never has actually shoe animal leather beaten the end such a variety of elaborate patterns. Never … has actually one note been made to sing and soar, come whisper and to laugh, in together astonishingly facility rhythm.

A quick-tempered and competitive man, a perfectionist well mindful of his own immense creative gifts, Robinson chafed at and challenged the oppressive racial norms of his era, gambled recklessly, and also carried a gold-plated revolver that no one doubted he was ready to use. He commemorated his sixty-first date of birth by dancing down Broadway from Columbus Circle to 44th Street. Together his seventieth date of birth approached, his to dance abilities, prefer his popularity, right waned. In ~ Robinson’s death in 1949, thousands passed by his body together it place in state in Harlem, wherein he had actually long due to the fact that been understood honorary mayor. Black and also white, high and low, alike paid tribute come the man’s skilled genius and personal generosity.

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Portrait of bill Robinson. Carl van Vechten, photographer, Jan. 25, 1933. Valve Vechten Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Several films had in the collection variety Stage Sound Recordings and also Motion Pictures demonstrate the layout of dance Robinson excelled at.

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Unabashedly racist, the comedy Fights the Nations relied ~ above both stereotype and also slapstick. “Part 2” opens with a sword fight between three kilted Scots, and also moves on to a brand-new York City dance hall. Between brawls, viewers space treated come a madness dance, performed by a character recognized as “The Bully.”

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Tap dance Sequence indigenous Fights that Nations. Part 2 of 3, 2nd film. Billy Bitzer, camera; unified States: American Mutoscope and also Biograph Company, 1907. Range Stage Sound Recordings and Motion Pictures. Movement Picture, transfer & videotaped Sound Division

The Library of conference presents such materials as component of the record of the past, showing the attitudes, perspectives, and also beliefs of various times. The Library of conference does no endorse the views they express.


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Tap dance in America: A Twentieth-Century Chronology the Tap performance on Stage, Film, and also Media is one exhaustive and also detailed collection of products related come twentieth-century insanity performance. Included is Tap run in America: a short History.